Chromosomal organization of candidate genes involved in cholesterol gallstone formation: a murine gallstone map.

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Gastroenterology 2001 Jan; 120(1):221-38.




Epidemiologic and family studies indicate that cholesterol gallstone formation is in part genetically determined. The major contribution to our current understanding of gallstone genes derives from animal studies, particularly cross-breeding experiments in inbred mouse strains that differ in genetic susceptibility to cholesterol gallstone formation (quantitative trait loci mapping). In this review we summarize how the combined use of genomic strategies and phenotypic studies in inbred mice has proven to be a powerful means of dissecting the complex pathophysiology of this common disease. We present a "gallstone map" for the mouse, consisting of all genetic loci that have been identified to confer gallstone susceptibility as well as putative candidate genes. Translation of the genetic loci and genes between mouse and human predicts chromosomal regions in the human genome that are likely to harbor gallstone genes. Both the number and the precise understanding of gallstone genes are expected to further increase with rapid progress of the genome projects, and multiple new targets for early diagnosis and prevention of gallstone disease should become possible.